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Monday, June 1, 2009

Nature Tripping at Wetlands Institute

If you want to get back to nature, this is one place you should consider.

At the seashore, the elemental attractions of sun and surf are dazzling; however, it's the subtle discoveries that truly amaze: the whirls of moon snail shells, the horseshoe crabs (looking like prehistoric tanks) or the quick skittering of sandpipers in and out of the ocean foam.

Perched at the edge of 6,000 acres of pristine coastal wetlands, this nonprofit institute offers a welcoming approach to the island, reminding visitors to take stock of their surroundings. Feeding herons, egret and ibis are visible from the road, and careful travelers may even spy a diamond-backed terrapin.

The center hosts activites for everyone. Passive observers may be content to simply watch the masses of migrating water birds and raptors; help feed the horseshoe crabs, sea stars and baby terrapins in the aquarium; or view emerging baby ospreys via the nest-cam.

Sunsets over the salt marshes are stunning. But the institute really caters to hands-on exploration, from discovering the ecosystems along the trail and tidal creek, to guided dune walks and back bay kayaking adventures.

Aquarium feedings are every Tuesday through Thursdays at 3:30pm and Saturdays at 2pm. Totally turtle Tuesdays and fabulous family nights on Thursdays are the perfect family-friendly ways to spend a vacation evening at the beach.